An interesting take on why U.S. Department of Justice and European Commission have been willing to charge #gigplatforms such as Uber, DoorDash, and Lyft with price fixing — open competition is an inconvenience.
There is some dark truth to this argument, where neither consumers nor the government truly care about the fact that Uber et al. engage in hardcore “dynamic price fixing” for services of third-party gig workers. (Uber, as an entity, does not offer transportation or delivery services to anyone.)
The reason being, a hub-and-spoke conspiracy offers “apparent” pricing below what can be sustained in a competitive market. By shifting the hard costs of operations against the spokes, a network of #gigworkers, a hub platform is able to rig “low” pricing despite the uncompetitive take take.
Eventually, this “wild west” approach to #antitrust enforcement destroys the economic well-being of everyone else (including the tax payers who have been footing the unemployment insurance tax bill for the entire gig economy sector) and keeps Dara Khosrowshahi Logan Green and Tony Xu out of federal prison for no good reason.
At some point, a violation of the Sherman Act is a felony punishable by, for corporations, a fine of up to $100 million, and for individuals, a fine of up to $1 million or 10 years’ imprisonment (or both). Under some circumstances, the maximum potential fine may be increased above the Sherman Act maximums to twice the gain or loss involved.
Further, #gigplatforms utilize Internet to transmit price fixing, thereby violating federal/state #wirefraud and false statements statutes.
The damages here are off the rails, and will, eventually, be imposed in order to address the problem of collusion in e-commerce. This problem will continue to chase Uber until it is forced to file for bankruptcy and restructure the algorithm to either hire the gig workers as employees, or to allow all gig workers a full control of all price setting activities on their platform in competition with one another.